Summary: Teenagers Citra and Rowan live in a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery, no natural death. Scythes are the only individuals who can end life and must do so to control the size of the population. When Citra and Rowan are chosen as apprentices to the same scythe, neither wants the role. However, Citra and Rowan learn that if they fail to learn the “art” of taking life, there will be some costly consequences.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Prior to reading Scythe, I had seen the book and its recently published sequel, Thunderhead, EVERYWHERE in the book community—bookstagram, book blogs, Booktube; you name the platform, I saw it. The morning I headed back to college for the spring semester, I wanted to bring at least one library book back with me, knowing that I would have time to read over the beauty that is syllabus week (this is the first true syllabus week I’ve had in college (aka I wasn’t crying over homework on the first day of classes)).
And I admit, the hype for Scythe had me interested—it’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a sci-fi/dystopian read. So Scythe went along with me to school and three days later, I had eaten it up. If you haven’t see the title of this post, here’s the verdict: THE HYPE FOR SCYTHE DOES NOT LIE BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS FREAKING FANTASTIC AND IT’S THE BEST NON-CONTEMPORARY BOOK I’VE READ IN A WHILE.
Unlike most of my reviews, I will be going into spoilers, but before I do so, let’s talk non-spoilers. I’ve seen in a few reviews for Scythe that some people found the beginning a bit slow (the book clocks around 430 pages), but not for me, because the world-building is PHENOMENAL AND A BIT CREEPY IN THE SENSE THAT THIS WORLD IS NOT TOO FAR OFF FROM OUR OWN. Basically, Scythe takes place in a world that has made a ton of technological advantages, where most of society is run by the Thunderhead (picture the cloud but with a built in-Siri that can actually have a conversation with you and controls the world’s legislation, you know) and people are able to live for centuries and change their appearance to look younger. You could even jump off a building and wake up a day or two later, perfectly alive and eating the best bowl of ice cream you’ve ever had.
Scythe is told in first person, with chapters alternating their focus on Citra and Rowan. I additionally disagree with the opinion that Scythe had a slow start because we get Citra and Rowan’s first interactions with Scythe Faraday in their first chapters and they soon become his apprentices. Even though Citra and Rowan are teenagers, they are both very mature (which makes sense given that they are being trained for a livelihood that requires them to glean people). I loved Scythe Faraday because of his dry sense of humor and his compassion, and I think he really became a grandfather-like figure to Citra and Rowan
This is going to sound like THE MOST TYPICAL/MAINSTREAM/EXPECTED RECOMMENDATION ANSWER BUT I LOVE THIS TRILOGY AND MY OPINION HAS MERIT : if you liked The Hunger Games trilogy, I highly recommend picking up Scythe. Besides both being YA and sci-fi/dystopian novels, Scythe and THG have a lot of similar discussion and imagery regarding death and some physical aspects (the training to be a scythe/ training for The Hunger Games). For example, Citra and Rowan are required to train to become a scythe and must learn how to fight and kill with and without a variety of weapons, along with having to complete a series of tests. Scythe also has a lot of discussion about how gleaning is similar and similar to death and even murder from the “Age of Mortality”, while THG is set in a society where people are also forced to kill one another.
So that wraps up my non-spoilery thoughts and I will be now jumping into spoilers. Please use the following GIF as a barrier if you do want to read spoilers.
(I’ve been slowly adding GIFs to my posts and I think I like it??? I mean who doesn’t like Jerry/Larry/Terry/Gerry?)
I was so beyond sad when the High Blade told Citra and Rowan that Scythe Faraday had gleaned himself. AND LET MY READING NOTES FOR SCYTHE BE EVIDENCE THAT I KNEW FARADAY WASN’T DEAD. But I totally wasn’t expecting Citra to show up at his house (I’m hoping the sequel will go more into how the Thunderhead can help people through internal conversations). The one thing I really enjoyed out Faraday being out of the picture is Citra’s relationship with Scythe Curie, who I think is my favorite character in the book. AND HER PAST HISTORY WITH FARADAY, AHHHHHHH YES MY FAVORITES!
Speaking of romance, I am not a superfan of Citra and Rowan’s “relationship”. Yeah there is some attraction and I appreciate that romance isn’t the main focal point of the novel, but I wasn’t entirely sold on their feelings for each other. It would have been more understanding for them to not want to glean the other because of their friendship, not their “romance”.
Going back to some AHHHHHHH-worthy feelings, THE LAST GLEANING JOURNAL, SPECIFICALLY THE LAST MINI PARAGRAPH, FROM CITRA HAS ME READY FOR THUNDERHEAD. Here’s a recap:
“And if ever Scythe Lucifer comes my way, I hope he’ll see me as one of the good ones. The way he once did.”
Overall, if you couldn’t tell from the length alone of this review, I loved Scythe and it’s definitely going to be a favorite of 2018. I am conflicted about when I am going to read Thunderhead. I don’t want to wait too long because I don’t want to forget everything that happened in Scythe, but at the same time, the last book doesn’t come out until 2019 so I need to find a good midterm day. Or just eat up the second book now.
Have you read Scythe? Do you also get nervous about reading really hyped books? Share in the comments!